Grotesque Tactics 2: Dungeons and Donuts is a new game from Meridian4 in the vein of the old Bard’s Tales games and the newer DeathSpank series. It combines hardcore RPG action with a sense of humor that satirizes modern role-playing games, but also remains a solid entry into the turn-based RPG genre.
We recently got our hands on a preview build of Grotesque Tactics 2 that was a bit rough around the edges but already showed the game’s comedic potential. One of the game’s earliest gags had me meeting up with an NPC named after Professor Oak from the Pokémon RPG games, and mocked the start-up conversation featured in all the Pokémon games. The game shows off the love Meridian4 has for RPGs, and the game strikes a fine balance between being an homage to the genre and mocking its overused conventions.
The mechanics of the game are set up like a strategy RPG that has you traveling dungeons until you encounter an enemy, at which point a grid-like overlay appears beneath the play area. You then receive a set amount of spaces to move on your turn, and choose between an attack, special attack, wait, or defend action (you are also allowed to use potions at will). From that point each encounter is turn-based, with positioning off attacks being crucial for effective attacks on the enemy.
Quests usually feature witty banter between your character and the NPCs, and for the most part consist of the usual variety of fetch quests and boss bounties found in many fantasy RPGs. Along with these quests, you will also be tasked with making a variety of foods to please the various denizens of the underground kingdom the game uses as its hub. There’s also a guild system that will have you recruiting unique companions that will help you along your quest against the Fog that is invading the land. The snide comments and banter made by your companions is what really makes the sometimes repetitive adventuring worthwhile.
Grotesque Tactics 2: Dungeons and Donuts gathers its DNA from action RPG’s like Baldur’s Gate and turned-based fantasy RPGs like Final Fantasy. It does a great job of challenging the player with turn-based encounters that are broken up by a great sense of humor that saturates every part of the game. I look forward to seeing what the retail build of Grotesque Tactics 2: Dungeons and Donuts has to offer when it’s released on October 15, 2011.